The Miami Heat have won two straight titles, but the question still remains as to whether or not they’ll be able to pull off the mythical three-peat.
The question of repeating as champions existed last summer, but this time around, it seems as though the questions are louder and more prominent with the buzz building around other contenders.
Roy Hibbert’s quiet summer of putting on size, conditioning and working with Tim Duncan isn’t so quiet anymore.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry are gearing up in their new home of Brooklyn for one more shot at taking down the Heat—this time with Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams on their side.
The cause for concern for Miami is real, and Erik Spoelstra and his team are undoubtedly well aware of that.
However, while the moves around the league are nothing to scoff at and Miami will definitely react, don’t expect it to overreact.
The fact remains that the Heat have had success forcing other teams to adjust to their style of play, and until someone turns the tables on Miami, the Heat’s plan of attack will remain the same.
Make no mistake: You will see a few different tweaks in the Heat’s strategy this year, but they will hardly be significant.
Center, of course, is the most prominent point of focus with this size-challenged Heat roster.
By and large, the Heat have the smallest core out of any of the contenders in the East. That fact has been well documented and stressed countless times by now.
And Miami’s front office has repeatedly shown it understands the issue at hand, as shown when it brought in Chris Andersen last January and then, more recently, when it signed Greg Oden this summer.
The size on the Heat roster might not be elite, but to date, it’s been enough.
With that being said, Miami will continue to need just that out of its big men: enough.
When the playoffs roll around, sure, we may see the Heat feature Oden in a few more minutes when Miami has to deal with the likes of the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. However, the core of Miami’s strategy will “stay the course,” as Spoelstra likes to say.
This Heat team has had success with small ball, and that’s the formula they will continue to stand by, at least for the upcoming season.
Increased Maintenance Plan
While the product on the court will remain the same for the Heat for the most part, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Miami value a healthy roster more than home-court advantage for next year’s playoff run.
They’ve certainly proved they can win on anyone’s floor over the past three years, and with a declining Dwyane Wade added in with the rest of the Heat’s aging roster, Miami’s equation likely needs an increased dosage of rest throughout the regular season.
And don’t discount the burden LeBron James will once again be forced to carry at certain moments, particularly in the postseason. He may be the best player in the world and may be in incredible shape, but the simple truth is, he’s human, just like the rest of us.
In order for the Heat to have a real shot at winning their third straight title, they will have to be healthy. If they aren’t, the task is going to be awfully difficult.